From Publishers Weekly
Ignatius of Loyola's "way of proceeding" as lived by the Jesuits, the community of men he started in 1540, forms the basis of this spiritual handbook. Author Martin, a Jesuit for 20 years, claims anyone can benefit from the methods Jesuits employ in conducting their lives. This includes not only believers in God, but those who eschew religion, reject God, explore the spiritual terrain, or are just plain confused. After all, Martin writes, the Ignatian way is about "finding freedom," and the Jesuit founder wanted it to be available to everyone, not only members of his community. Martin provides a brief history of Ignatius and the Jesuits, followed by a how-to that covers prayer in its various forms; the Jesuit vows of chastity, poverty and obedience; friendship and love; discernment; and finding a life path. Readers familiar with the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius-an ordered set of spiritual themes and practices-and other facets of Jesuit life will find this rather elementary, but Martin has done a creditable job of making the Ignatian way relevant to a contemporary audience.
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For over 500 years, the Jesuit Order of Catholic priests, founded by St. Ignatius of Loyola, have enjoyed a well-deserved reputation as a society of scholars, educators, free-thinkers, and activists. In this digestible account of all things Jesuit, James Martin, S.J., encapsulates the uniquely Ignatian concept of spirituality. Translating the essence of the Jesuit philosophy into layman’s terms, he uses both traditional stories and personal anecdotes to vividly illustrate the Jesuit approach to God, friendship, social justice, decision-making, prayer, simplicity, obedience, and self-actualization. Martin’s engaging, intimate tone will appeal to anyone interested in understanding the history, the efficacy, and the universality of the Jesuit mission and way of life. Martin, the author of My Life with the Saints (2006), has a way of popularizing serious religious issues without trivializing their impact and significance. --Margaret Flanagan